Category: Coal

A battle royale over Montana coal royalties – Billings Gazette, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015
By Tom Lutey Steve Charter looks at Montana’s crumbling infrastructure and sees a fiscal pothole he says coal could fill in if the government did a better job of collecting royalties from public land. “We just got done with this Legislature where there were a lot of needs that couldn’t be met,” Charter said. Meanwhile, “since 2008 Montana has lost over $30 million in coal royalties that should have been revenue to the state.” Charter, who ranches north...
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Guest opinion: Montanans lose when coal companies game tax system – Billings Gazette, April 25, 2015

April 27, 2015
By Dan Bucks Montanans pride themselves on pulling their own weight, paying their dues, and being good neighbors no matter what life brings to them. So one might hope that those who come to Montana to make profits by extracting minerals would pay their fair share for that opportunity. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The century-long record of stolen treasure and resource damage is well documented. The story continues today in the form of underpaid royalties on coal...
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Letter: Legislature favors bills that would harm water quality – Billings Gazette, April 24, 2015

April 24, 2015
Montanans almost universally value the economic, health and recreational opportunities associated with clean water. Agriculture, fishing, hunting, hiking — well, it's hard to imagine any of these activities without healthy rivers and streams. Unfortunately, the state Legislature is sending Gov. Steve Bullock three bills that would undermine legal safeguards protecting Montana's water resources. SB160 would allow human activities to be considered part of the "natural" condition of our waterways. SB325 leaves water users vulnerable to new upstream sources...
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Guest opinion: SB 325 veto needed to protect Montana’s irrigated agriculture – Billing Gazette, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015
By Roger Muggli I have farmed at the confluence of the Tongue and Yellowstone Rivers my entire life. My grandfather first came here in 1929, and Mugglis have been farming here ever since. My grandfather managed the Tongue and Yellowstone Irrigation District, and then my father did, and then I took it over in 1987. But during a span of less than one decade in the early 2000s, I watched our crop yields decrease by more than half....
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Ag finding pulse here – Billings Outpost, April 16, 2015

April 20, 2015
By WILBUR WOOD “Our current food system takes wealth out of our communities,” says Ken Meter. “An uncomfortable reality but essential to talk about.” The U.S. food system, he says, is based on long distance travel of food — either from farms and ranches into centralized processing facilities or back from those facilities to consumers, including those same farmers and ranchers; it is a food system engineered to supply, and prop up, the global export-import system. Meter wants...
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Letter: SB325 is a salty mess that deserves veto – Billings Gazette, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015
Everybody knows salt water kills crops. That is why those of us in agriculture who depend on salty water for irrigation do what we can to prevent runoff and keep our rivers clean. But we also depend on others to do their part as well. Senate Bill 325 would repeal an important compromise established over the course of years to keep Montana waters clear enough of salts to support the folks who must irrigate their crops with compromised...
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Press release: Draft Tongue River Railroad study released – April 17, 2015

April 17, 2015
Montanans concerned about condemnation, rail congestion Link to Surface Transportation Board Draft EIS announcement By Northern Plains Resource Council BILLINGS, Mont. — The federal Surface Transportation Board released the long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Tongue River Railroad (TRR) on Friday, April 17. The proposed coal-hauling railroad would connect the proposed Otter Creek strip mine in southeastern Montana to existing Montana rail, to be shipped to the West Coast for intended export to Asia. If permitted,...
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Letter: SB 325 threatens Montana water quality standards – Billings Gazette, April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015
As a rancher, I know that agriculture depends on good, clean water. That’s why I’m concerned about Senate Bill 325. With the stroke of a pen, SB325 would bar the state from enforcing water quality standards that were set after years of public comment, scientific study, and participation by multiple irrigation districts and individual water users — standards that ensure that irrigation water will be able to support hay production in the state. Gov. Steve Bullock would be wise to...
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Mixed message at U.S. Senate field hearing on coal in Indian Country – Associated Press, April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015
By Matt Brown BILLINGS, Mont. — Opponents of a plan to expand coal production on tribal lands said Wednesday that the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee received a mixed message from Native Americans about whether to mine coal in Indian Country. A hearing was held Wednesday at the Little Big Horn College Health and Wellness Center in Crow Agency, Montana, chaired by GOP Sen. Steve Daines. Daines said the debate in Washington about energy development in general, and coal in...
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Press release: Tribal members divided about coal – April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015
By Northern Plains Resource Council CROW AGENCY, Mont. – Today, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee received a mixed message at a U.S. Senate Field Hearing from Native Americans about whether to mine coal in Indian Country. The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held the Field Hearing on the topic of coal development on reservations. The Senate Committee limited public comment during the hearing to the testimony of several hand-picked spokespeople, all of whom agree that coal should...
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